Chastening of Job, Part 1

The man Job is likely to have lived around the time of Abraham (circa B.C. 2166-1991), so it was long before Israel became a nation.

The location of the land of Uz is likely in the same area as Edom, which would be modern day Jordan, southeast of the Dead Sea.

There is some dispute as to the time of writing and its author; the best guess is that it was written around the time of Solomon, 970-930 B.C.

One thing that must not be disputed is that the book of Job is about real events that happened to a real man, it is not an allegory, see the quote below.

“Son of man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it. Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,” says the Lord God.” Ezekiel 14:13-14.

The question, “Why do the righteous suffer?” is answered in the book of Job, though it may not be to the satisfaction of everyone.

Job’s chastening begins when the sons of God, angels, both fallen and righteous, present themselves before God; evidently this is a recurring meeting.

Satan attended this meeting too, being a son of God in the sense that he was created by Him, though he later led a rebellion against God he now is what is called a fallen angel.

“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ So Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.’” Job 1:6-7.

Then God brought Satan’s attention to Job.

“Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” Job 1:8b.

Satan replied that it is God’s care that keeps Job trusting in Him, take that away and he will curse God to His face.

To this God replied that Satan can take all that Job possessed only he could not touch the man himself.

Satan then destroyed everything Job had and killed his ten children.

The devastation was so cruel that while one servant was still reporting a calamity, another entered to report more destruction, and while he was still speaking, another man entered to report a devastating loss, while he was still speaking, a fourth servant came in to report the death of his 10 children.

“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’ In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” Job 1:20-22.

Here we see that worship is not just something that we do when we feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Worship is done when the bottom falls out of our lives as well as when times are good.

Worship is something that is due God because of who He is, not how well He treats us. And prayer should come from the heart.

From personal experience, I believe I can speak for all of us, worship is not always from the heart, but rather out of duty, unfortunately.

Recently, a man visited a huge 200 year old stone church in New York; no one spoke to him except the greeter. The pastor stood before them said a few words, read a few verses, then in a stentorian voice said, “Now let us worship”.

The organist began to play and no one sang along; some read their bulletin, some talked to each other, but none worshipped. The visitor got up and left at that point and no one said as much as goodbye. These things ought not to be my friends.

After all these things Job chapter one ends with these words.

“In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” Job 1:22.

Satan again presented himself before God at the next meeting and God pointed out that His servant Job still maintained his integrity despite Satan’s evil intentions.

The Devil replied:

“Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” Job 2:4b-5.

To this God replied that Satan can touch him but not take his life. And this the evil one does by covering Job from head to toe with boils.

Notice how Satan said, “stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh”, yet it was not God who struck Job with the boils, it was Satan.

This is typical of the work of the devil, he, through his godless puppets, will afflict someone, or slaughter innocent families, destroy peace, corrupt morality, and in the end, people say, “Why is God doing this?”

All through the book of Job no one faults Satan for doing this.

Finally, Job’s wife said in frustration,

“Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job 2:9b.

Folks assign all kinds of motives to Job’s wife’s outburst, but they forget one thing, this is a trial for her too; she has lost her ten children, all her worldly goods, and is now watching her husband writhe in agony.

Except for the lack of pain, she has gone through everything. The only difference is that she has completely cracked under the pressure.

This is Job’s reply to her.

“…You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” Job 2:10.

It is at this point that Satan has failed in his attempt to prove God wrong and Job a hypocrite.

J. N. Darby made this interesting comment, “Satan can trace the motives which work in flesh, the evil in man’s heart which he excites; but grace in God, His uncaused love, and grace in man which trusts in and leans on it, he cannot measure, nor know the power of.”

Just think, this fallen angel who spent perhaps thousands of years in the very presence of God before his fall knows less about the Lord than the average Christian, and he still underestimates God’s grace.

We hear no more of Satan after this; however, God is still not done refining the gold.

There is one other thing that you may experience when you are going through a trial; it is what could be called a second hit. In Job’s case it is the arrival of his three friends.

These three men were there to comfort Job, but they wound up making him more miserable with their accusations. This is the sort of kick the devil will give you when you are down, so watch for it so you will not be overly discouraged when it happens.

Here is an example of how this works. The timing chain broke on a man’s car and the trial began, lacking money, He had to fix it himself. He had no second car, so he borrowed his son’s.

While scouting parts and running errands the car died in the middle of an intersection; it did not just die, it sounded exactly like the other car did when the chain broke this is the second hit.

He pushed the car to the curb and attempted to start it. It sounded different from the other vehicle when he tried to start it, so he checked under the hood, removed the air cleaner and looked at the carburetor; the butterfly valve was stuck shut.

His son had run such cheap gas in it that everything was gummed up with residue. He pushed the butterfly valve into the open position and drove home.

These second hits often have no teeth, but they are vexing and if not recognized may push you into greater despair, as they did Job, for he protested his innocence while they were accusing him of sin and hypocrisy.

This highlighted his true problem and the reason for his chastening.

“So these three men ceased answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.” Job 32:1.

This made a fourth man named Elihu quite angry.

“Then the wrath of Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, was aroused against Job; his wrath was aroused because he justified himself rather than God. Also against his three friends his wrath was aroused, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.” Job 32:2-3.

Elihu portrays Christ acting as a mediator between God and men. He began by itemizing Job’s rebellion.

“Surely you have spoken in my hearing, and I have heard the sound of your words, saying, ‘I am pure, without transgression; I am innocent, and there is no iniquity in me. Yet He finds occasions against me, He counts me as His enemy; He puts my feet in the stocks, He watches all my paths.’ Look, in this you are not righteous. I will answer you, for God is greater than man. Why do you contend with Him? For He does not give an accounting of any of His words.” Job 33:8-13.

Elihu’s speech goes from chapter 32 through 37, and God Himself speaks from chapter 38 on. Elihu’s words are concerned mostly with praising God’s attributes, but there are some illuminating things said regarding chastening.

“For has anyone said to God, ‘I have borne chastening; I will offend no more; teach me what I do not see; if I have done iniquity, I will do no more’? Should He repay it according to your terms, just because you disavow it? You must choose, and not I; therefore speak what you know.” Job 34:31-33.

Many of us have undergone chastening, whether loss of employment, financial troubles, health problems, and so on; then when we recognize that it may be a trial, we go before God and start bargaining.

“Wow! Hey, I can take no more, tell me what I am doing wrong, and I will stop doing it”. Often, we might know what we are doing wrong.

The question is will God stop the trial on your say so, just because you say you will do it no more?

Try that with your children and see how effective it is.

“Dad I’ve been in my room half an hour now; I promise not to beat up my little brother anymore.”

“Well, okay son, see that you do not do it again, come on out.”

The next day you are faced with the same problem; if you keep giving in you will wind up with a cowering, angry little brother and an out-of-control delinquent child.

“He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” Proverbs 13:24.

Many parents love their children so much that they cannot bear to punish them; this proverb shows us that they are doing their children such a disservice that their love might just as well be counted as hate.

True wisdom is to teach your child the difference between right and wrong, because they will not learn this on their own. Your job is to train them how to lead a godly life.

This will lessen the need for the rod and rebuke if they listen to you and see it in you.

True love, hard as it may seem, is to raise your child properly, so they can take a responsible place in society and raise your grandchildren correctly.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6.

There is a widow in her sixties who must care for her young grandchildren because her daughter is a prostitute and drug addict who is unfit to raise her own children.

Consider carefully, what would you like to be doing in your sixties?

An example of harsh corrective punishment concerns the farmer who has a dog that likes to kill his chickens; there are two options, kill the dog, or train him not to kill chickens.

To train him the farmer takes one of the dead chickens and ties it around the dog’s neck and leaves it there until it is good and rotten. In time the chicken either rots off or is removed, and the dog will have lost his taste for killing chickens.

Animal rights folks would have a fit if they saw this, and children’s rights meddlers will have you arrested for correcting your child in a manner they do not like.

Obviously, you are not to tie a dead chicken around your child’s neck nor are you to punish them well beyond the severity of the misdeed.

“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4.

“Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Colossians 3:21.

“The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” Proverbs 29:15.

This goes for you single mothers too, your task is not easy, but consistency and even-handedness will keep you in control of your household.

“Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul.” Proverbs 29:17.

As stated in an earlier study on “Chastening”, children are better off learning the important lessons while under their parent’s care, where punishment consists of being grounded, or losing phone privileges; whereas, as adults they can go to prison, be crippled by drugs, or come within an inch of death.

Once again it is understood that bad things happen to children, but the average childhood is a little less fraught with danger, especially when they are trained up in a household that honors the Lord Jesus.

And parents, always, always remember to use the most powerful weapon the Christian has, prayer. Never cease to lift up your children in prayer. Pray for their salvation, health, safety, friends, and to choose to do good at all times. You may have many other things to pray for them.

May you and your family be blessed and protected by the Lord Jesus.

Chastening of Job, Part 1 taken from posted on 10-20-15, updated on 6-27-24 ck.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.

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